For the love of Jeremy Clarkson, if you buy a new or gently used FRS/BRZ/GT86 (which will henceforth be referred to as a Twin) and it has the standard Michelin Primacy tires: WEAR. THEM. OUT.
The factory Michelin tires are actually good. Not good for grip. But good for pretty much everything else. And whether you are experienced or a novice, you owe it to yourself to spend time on those tires. Spend time on the street, spend time at autocross, and spend time on the track. If you do, I’m confident you’ll enjoy yourself. The limits of the car will be within reach pretty much all of the time. This will accelerate your acclimatization with the car. The lower speeds will mean more time spent learning how the car behaves to everything you try to do with it. For example, since the mid corner speeds will be lower, you’ll spend more time in that corner – feeling the car yaw, push, and slip. For sure you’ll go faster sooner if you immediately grab a high performance tire. But I’d argue you won’t get better faster if you do that.
It’s also worth mentioning that the Primacys will ride fairly well. They’ll be quiet while still having a competent yet compliant sidewall; Michelin is good at that. This lets the car be pleasurable to drive pretty much all of the time so the ‘honeymoon’ period with your car will be more enjoyable. Before you get the oversized wheel/tire combo that rides horribly and/or tries to kill you in colder temps or less than ideal dry conditions.
I’ve driven a number of Twins on stock rubber and the chassis balance and steering response still shines through with the Primacys. There’s a reason why they shipped with that tire and I believe this setup should be experienced. It was how the engineers thought it would be best enjoyed.
What do you think? Were the engineers wrong? I can be frequently heard spouting, “Less grip. More fun!” So I may be biassed. Subaru’s new 2018 BRZ tS has ended up much more capable Pilot Sport 4S tires which another outlet thought made the car kinda “worse.”
Leaving those Primacy tires on might also put you into one of those classic David v Goliath scenarios. And you just might humble another Twin that’s much better equipped than you. The reality is, if you’re competing in any form of motorsport in a Twin, you’re pretty much guaranteed to go up against another in some form. And nothing gets you respect faster than punching above your weight.
It is worth noting however, that there are cases where stickier tires are necessary. In CASC/SCCA Autocross C Street class, the Twin needs the best 200TW tires you can get to be competitive. But I promise you’ll be better equipped to use those uber-sticky tires if you spent time killing your uber green Primacy tires.
So get out there. Take those Primacys and generate some slip angles. Thank me later.